Jeffrey Deitch's MOCA in "Turmoil"?, Michael Douglas Promotes Peace Art, and More Must-Read Art News

Jeffrey Deitch's MOCA in "Turmoil"?, Michael Douglas Promotes Peace Art, and More Must-Read Art News
MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch
(Courtesy Billy Farrell Agency)

– Financial Staffers Flee MOCA: There is no doubt that former dealer Jeffrey Deitch has brought some dynamism back to L.A. MOCA, via programming like his blockbuster "Art in the Streets" show. Yet questions are bubbling up about whether all is well at an institution that famously came close to collapse during the height of the financial crisis. Three officials who held important financial roles have fled the institution in the last three months, all after less than a year on the job: Gary Cypres, a member of the museum's board and chair of its finance committee; Sarah Sullivan, MOCA's head fundraiser; and chief operating officer David M. Galligan. Meanwhile, some say that efforts to build the endowment or even tap promised matching funds from Eli Broad have languished. Speaking of the hemmorrhage of key personelle, former MOCA chief executive Charles E. Young opines that it's "a turnover that begins to look like turmoil." [LAT]

– Michael Douglas Champions Anti-Nuclear Art: The actor, who is also a United Nations Messenger of Peace, is promoting a U.N. art contest for youngsters to encourage a nuclear-free world. Contestants are encouraged to envision a world free of wars or bombs. So far almost all of the submissions have come from Russia and China. [AP]


– Whitney Partners With Michegan Museum: The New York institution has teamed up with the Grand Rapids Art Museum to bring some of the Whitney's finest artworks to West Michigan. Robert Rauschenberg's "Synapsis Shuffle," which opened at Grand Rapids today, is the first exhibit to make the trip as part of the three-year partnership. [M Live]

– Arts Programs Boost Test Scores: Do the arts matter? Yes, they do! A new study that took place at three schools in Chicago over three years suggests that art courses can have a serious effect on standardized test scores. Students who enjoyed arts programming scored on average 11 percentage points higher than students at the same school who did not. [Chicago Tribune]

– Uncovering Picasso's Phantom Subject: A grant from Bank of America will empower the Guggenheim to investigate the ghost of a figure that lies beneath Picasso's Blue Period masterpiece "Woman Ironing." For years, conservators, curators, and historians have speculated about whom the figure might be. Now, with the extra funds and X-ray technology, they'll be able to get to the bottom of the mystery. [NYT]

– Hard Pill to Swallow: San Francisco-based artist Jason Mecier has (unsurprisingly) come under fire for the latest in his series of mosaic portraits made of colorful pills, which depicts the recently deceased and famously addiction-prone singer Whitney Houston. In a new interview he defends the controversial work: "As an artist you want to raise these emotions. I find these pieces more honest than disrespectful. I consider it a colorful tribute." [HuffPo]

– Yoko Ono Wins 2012 Oscar Kokoschka Prize: Presented every two years, the €20,000 ($26,600) prize is Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art. [ACN]

– Napoleon Battles Mickey Mouse in Paris Suburb: The mayor of Montereau-Fault-Yonne has announced plans for the Bivouac de Montereau, a theme park dedicated to Napoleon (already known as Napoleonland), located a stone's throw from France's own Disneyland. Attractions will include the Egyptian campaign and the disastrous Battle of Berezina. [NYT]

– Myanmar Readies a Renaissance: As the United States and Europe consider lifting sanctions on Myanmar that have kept tourism to a trickle, artists prepare to gain more exposure for their work — and, they hope, a lot more money. Before the U.S. lifted similar sanctions on Vietnam in 1994, few artworks sold for more than $1,000. Today, top artists there fetch 10 times that or more. [Reuters]

– The Whitney Biennial, Reviewed: Though this year's Whitney Biennial may have received more criticism in the run-up to the show than most, Roberta Smith has deemed it "one of the best Whitney Biennials in recent memory." [NYT]

– Double-Rainbow All the Way: A lighthouse in northern England sent out an unusual signal earlier this week: a giant rainbow. Formed by seven parallel beams of light, it reflected in the calm waters of Whitley Bay. The work, "Global Rainbow" by American artist Yvette Mattern, will light up the waters off North Tyneside until Sunday, when it travels to Northern Ireland. [Guardian

– Forget the Fridge Door: A crop of new websites offers proud parents new ways of preserving their kids' art. Child's Own Studio, a Vancouver-based company, makes custom stuffed animal toys based on children's unique designs, while Charlottesville's Formia Design takes tykes' sketches and transforms them into jewelry. These and other Web-based services mean your embarrassing preschool paintings will never disappear. [WSJ

– Two Frenchmen Arrested Over Dodgy Pissaro:  Two men were arrested by the French police as they walked out of a Parisian antique shop with a canvas signed by Paul-Émile Pissaro. The men, who claim to have gone to the shop for a painting appraisal, have yet to explain how they ended up in possession of the rare painting. [AMA]

– LA MOCA Curator Appointed Director of Cologne's MuseumPhilip Kaiser, former curator at Gegenwartskunst Basel who joined MOCA in 2007, will succeed Kasper König next June at the Ludwig Museum. [LAT]


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